CHICAGO (Sept. 14, 2023) – U.S. Soccer and AT&T today announced ‘Cultural Connections,’ a collaboration with artist Luis Pinto and USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi on a bespoke design that will honor their cultural background and roots during Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated across the United States from Sept. 15-Oct. 15
Through the collaboration, Pinto’s design brings to life a celebration of Pepi’s Mexican-American heritage. A native of El Paso, Texas, Pepi spent most of his childhood splitting time with family between his hometown and the neighboring Ciudad Juárez, just across the USA-Mexico border. A proud dual-national, Pepi committed to representing the United States on the international stage in August 2021.
“This initiative was inspiring for me to get behind in an effort to not only bring visibility to the millions of Hispanic-Americans in our country, but to connect them all through soccer,” said Pepi. “There are millions of stories like mine in this beautiful country, and we are all proud to represent the diversity of our Hispanic heritage, together united.”
Inspired by Pepi’s personal story which shares universal themes to that of many Hispanic-Americans, the design most prominently features the following elements and themes:
- Double Headed Eagle – Represents the transcendence of the two cultures that make up Pepi’s Mexican-American heritage.
- Presence of Stars – Represents the historical tie to Pepi’s hometown of El Paso, with a specific nod to its ‘Star on the Mountain’ landmark.
- Family – Growing up in San Elizario in El Paso county, Pepi spent many weekends crossing the border to Ciudad Juárez to spend time with family, who played an important part in his personal life as well as his eventual success in soccer.
- Unity – The bond between multiple cultures through soccer and the diverse players and fans who come from a variety of Hispanic communities.
U.S. Soccer will showcase the creative process to bring the design to life via a two-part digital content series, presented by AT&T, which will show fans Pinto’s journey to showcase Pepi’s story while illustrating the connection that soccer creates across generations of multicultural families as a shared experience and source of cultural pride.
The bespoke design will also be embellished on an apparel item that will be available for purchase in limited quantities at the U.S. Soccer Store, presented by Visa, beginning Sept. 15. In support of AT&T’s commitment toward helping bridge the digital divide, a portion of proceeds will be donated to Alarcon Elementary School in San Elizario, which Pepi attended during his childhood, to help fund resources and tools necessary for digital inclusion, literacy, and education.
“This collaboration demonstrates the transcendent power of soccer and purpose-driven partnerships,” said Kelly Higgins, U.S. Soccer Vice President of Partnership Marketing. “We’re thrilled to come together with AT&T to celebrate the diverse fanbase and players that represent our Federation, telling the story of rising USMNT star Ricardo Pepi and the unique connection that exists between sport and culture while making an impact on digital inequity. We couldn’t be more excited to see this come to life and to build on this initiative for years to come.”
In addition, the design will be incorporated into environmental and interactive activations during AT&T’s title night on Oct. 14 as the USMNT takes on Germany at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in Hartford, Conn. (3 p.m. ET; Telemundo, Peacock, Fútbol de Primera).
“It was an amazing experience to collaborate on this initiative with Pepi, U.S. Soccer and AT&T in bringing this design to life, where we could explore how soccer can bring us together beyond our cultural background as well as getting to amplify and celebrate Pepi’s Mexican-American heritage,” said Pinto. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity and I hope the team and fans keep celebrating this meaningful collaboration.”
To further celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, U.S. Soccer’s presenting partner, Volkswagen will integrate Pinto’s design into the VW logo on the USMNT pre-match tops to be worn by players during warmups. The design will also appear on a specially-wrapped VW ID.4 vehicle at Fan HQ on match day. Additionally, Volkswagen will partner with local youth organizations in support of Hispanic cultural endeavors to select and outfit game day player honorees during the Oct. 14 match and will include the full design on the back of their shirts.
The initiative continues to celebrate the diversity among U.S. Soccer fans as well as National Team players. This summer, the U.S. Women’s National Team fielded its most racially diverse World Cup roster in history, which included seven players who identify as Black and two who identify as Mexican-American. Similarly, the U.S. Men’s National Team was represented by its most racially diverse team yet at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where the roster included 12 players who identify as Black and four who identify as Hispanic.